Acne scars are the results of inflamed blemishes on the skin, which are left behind after the disappearance of pimple. They may be raised or flat and depressed. They are initially red in colour. Acne scars are caused due to inflammation within the dermis due to the acne process which causes fibrosis.
Minor scars heal quickly, but, the deeper ones can get infected further due to the engorgement of bacteria. This can lead to breaks in the wall and cause deep scarring, which is limited by newly formed collagen fibres. New collagen fibres are formed for the repair mechanism of the skin. But, the skin left behind by this process is not as smooth and flawless. There are three types of acne scars, based on appearance, icepick, boxcar and rolling types.
Acne scars are usually asymptomatic and do not cause any loss of function. The appearance of these disfiguring lesions has psychological impacts and thus must be treated. Treatment is performed in order to get healthier and smoother skin, which is free of blemishes and scars. Treatment of the scars also promotes an overall healthier skin growth cycle.
Following are the ways to improve the appearance of these disfiguring scars:
- Getting rid of your acne: The first line of treatment to get rid of acne scars is the treatment of present case of acne and prevention of any future acne scars. For this purpose, dermatologists prescribe topical creams and lotions like Benzoyl Peroxide and oral medications like Accutane to the patients. Medications must only be taken when prescribed by a professional dermatologist.
- Avoiding touching your acne: Avoid touching your acne as dirt and bacteria from your hands and fingernails can irritate the skin of the scar. Irritation of skin causes further infection and the inflammation will result in more scarring within the deeper layers.
- Avoiding sun exposure: Sun exposure can cause irritation of the scars, worsening the symptoms. It can also cause the skin to get tanned and appear darker in colour, highlighting the appearance of scars.
Other than the above methods, which are basically aimed at avoiding the worsening of acne scars, there are various operative procedures, which are carried out by dermatologists to improve the appearance of scars and smoothen the skin. They are performed once the acne is under control and there is no new acne. One requires usually more than one kind of treatment for acne scars. Multiple sittings are usually required for this purpose, especially in case of deep acne scars. These procedures are known to improve the appearance of acne scars, however, they do not cause complete disappearance of the scars.
These procedures are collectively called as skin resurfacing procedures which remove the damaged, scarred layers of skin to leave behind smoother skin which has a healthier growth cycle. Multiple sessions are needed for improvement .
Available treatment modalities:
- Microdermabrasion: In this process, the dermatologist uses a fine instrument, like a fine rapidly spinning diamond wheel, wire or a brush, with a rough surface, to finely abrade or wear the skin. This removes the topmost scarred layer which gets replaced with smoother skin as the healing process proceeds. Healing takes about 10 days to 3 weeks, and new skin is formed.
- Chemical Peel: Chemical products and acids are applied to the skin. You should have chemical peels professionally performed by a dermatologist. This procedure involves the application of chemical products to the skin, which cause exfoliation of the top layer of the skin.
- Laser therapy: Laser treatment is given by the dermatologist under local anaesthesia to remove the damaged top layer of the skin and tighten the middle layer. This procedure uses tiny beams of intense light which are targeted to the skin. It leaves behind smoother shallower scars.This procedure takes about an hour and the skin heals subsequently within 3-10 days. You need multiple sessions to see effects.
- Fractional Laser Therapy: Fractional laser therapy uses laser beams which are directed at a deeper, sub-surface level, as compared to the traditional laser treatment. This keeps the top most layer of skin intact.
Since the topmost layer of skin is untouched and intact, the healing time is comparatively shorter in case of this therapy. It causes skin discolouration for a few days.
- Injections: In some cases, particularly with rolling scars, injections are given just underneath the scar. The injection contains products which elevate the level of scar and bring them at par with the surrounding skin. This improves the appearance of scars.If all the above measures fail to achieve the desired results and do not improve the appearance of scars, surgery and plastic resurfacing must be considered for deeply indented scars.
A dermatologist through Remedico will be able to identify the cause for your acne even before you arrive at the problem of acne scars. Our online consultation process provides you with a detailed diagnosis, personalized treatment plan and any medicine prescription that you require. It’s important to note that you should never self-medicate. Only take medical treatment for your acne scars that has been prescribed by a dermatologist.
With Remedico, you can consult with a certified dermatologist for your acne and acne scars from wherever you are, right from your smartphone! All within 5 minutes! We will send you a personalised treatment plan within 24 hours.